Every user interaction with a company and its products and services is considered user experience. Our websites host an important part of this interaction, exposing our brand and products to the global audience. Their main goal is to satisfy visitors, cover their specific needs without demanding too much effort, commitment or thinking.
A website design goal is to please the user, build trust and guide the user through a clear path to reach something. UX is a broad and complex field, nevertheless, it is possible to optimize our websites to improve visitors experience through the following practices.
1. Use words efficiently
Considering that people read just 28% of the text on a webpage, the first good practice is to cut off irrelevant text. A study made in 2018, shows how a website experienced an improvement of 58% in web usability by reducing their word count by half.
Beyond reducing the amount of text, it is needed to optimize the copy to communicate the most important concepts towards conversion. Use a simple language, but try to adapt the tone and message following users expectations, needs and fears.
2. Allow mobile Responsiveness
Over 2 milliion mobile users make some kind of mobile commerce transaction, so it makes sense to have an optimal display on mobile. In fact, according to Adobe, a user is 5 times more likely to bounce from your website if it’s not optimized for mobile.
Google also is very interested in improving user experience on mobile and changed its algorithm to penalize non-responsive websites. On the new algorithm, mobile-unfriendly sites rank lower reducing its possibilities to be displayed on the first pages.
3. Clear and concise navigation
Among all the information you need to show about your business or product, it is important to categorize properly offering fluent navigation. Keep it simple and avoid including a menu with too many options.
According to the Hicks Law, there is a predictable increase in the time spent to decide, as the number of options goes up. From 3 to 7 options would be enough to show your product without confusing the visitors
Try to use a clear language to communicate options on your website, and assist your user during the journey. Assisting with proper navigation guide users towards success avoiding confusion.
Include clear page headers, and breadcrumb navigation to show the visitor its position and a clear route to move across pages. You can also use progress bars to help manage user expectations during multi-step tasks. Some recent research shows how 90% of users prefer web forms with progress bars and similar features.
4. Keep the balance with a clean layout
As the amount of text, other design elements should be minimal to keep a clean layout. Including white space makes your content more legible and allow users to focus on the elements surrounding the text. According to Crazy Egg, white space around text and titles increases user attention by 20%.
White space can make products or images to stand out, so adjust the copy, choose good images and make good use of margins, paragraph spacing, indentation, padding and margins. Give to each element its own atmosphere to ease reading.
Even if research has shown that layout (white space, typography indentation and figures) may not always be determinant for performance, it does have a dramatic effect on users satisfaction.
5. Ask minimal information
According to some studies, 86% of people fill at least one web form per week. Most websites and online business rely on web forms to collect leads and users data.
Being a boring and repetitive task it makes sense to keep forms simple and easy to fill. 67% of users spend between 1 and 3 minutes to fill an online form, but experts recommend to reduce this period to 1 minute.
If you are collecting leads data, ask just the basic information: name and email. But if you really need to collect more information, try to keep your form in one page, because 91% of users prefer scrolling to click through pages of grouped questions.
You should also try to reduce friction, identifying pain points where the user could get confused or frustrated. Using features like progress bars, inline validation or password strength checkers could assist users through the process of improving their satisfaction and increasing conversion.
6. Design and Visual Impact
Most websites are similar in structure or intend, so it is possible to recognize some common design patterns. People naturally look for patterns, so Instead of being creative, using these patterns can help users to navigate, understand the site easily.
When people are familiar with the patterns in your website they reduce the cognitive load to process all its information. That helps them to quickly find the most relevant elements attaining the goals of your website while improving their user experience.
In addition, use design to outline important elements. Users eyes should move between visual elements following their relevance on the page. People scan content with an F pattern: two horizontal and one vertical stripe. Take advantage of these areas to locate the most important concepts.
7. Use Calls to Action wisely
Every website has a goal. Therefore, individual pages should guide the users through the journey with proper navigation and calls to action. Users recognize calls to action and react to design elements, colour and copy. Choose carefully the text and use active language to drive response and improve the user experience.
Calls to actions should be placed near the offer. Then, try to keep the text consistent with the value statement inviting the users to act and engage.
Remember Hicks Law and reduce the number of calls to action per page to get a faster response. Try to include just one call to action per page. If you need to include more than one, they should not be contrasting.
Creating landing pages with a single call to action it is a good practice to increase conversion for specific campaigns or marketing objectives.
8. Offer help and documentation
Users are strangers on your website, your logic is not theirs and they could feel lost. Offer different channels to communicate and provide all the information needed.
Pricing pages are one of the first sources of confusion; what I get, how can I pay, how often, among many other questions. Make your pricing simple and remember again Hicks Law. Provide FAQs about payments to build in your audience some confidence and encourage conversion.
Include a Live chat pop up to offer real-time communication. If you have a product or service, include walkthroughs or guided tours to improve
9. Include human faces
People Buy as an emotional response. Our brains are programmed to read human faces, and their expressions can influence how we feel about something.
It is a good practice to include photos of the team, in the about us section. Show how there are a company and a set of real people behind your operation. This practice helps to build a relationship with consumers, which is the end goal of every brand.
10. Check your website speed
Finally, website loading speed is one of the main sources of frustration and website abandonment. Studies show how user satisfaction decreases up to 16% with a 1-second delay. The ideal website loading time is 2 second, but most websites take more than 9 seconds to load.
Use tools as Google test my site to know how fast is your website. This test gives you your loading time for a 3G mobile. Besides of getting your website speed, it will estimate your performance and the percentage of users you could be losing with your current website loading time.
If your loading time is not providing a good user experience to your visitors, try to use tools such as Dartspeed.com. It will speed up your website automatically to load in less than 3 seconds.